A Bevy of Zadies

The Paper Theory Zadie Jumpsuit has been sweeping the online sewing community, and with good reason: it comes in a decent size range of UK6-28, it’s easy to put together and adjust sizing, and the wrap style works comfortably for many body types. The minute I saw it, I settled on it for my graduation jumpsuit! That’s right, after six years of grad school (this time around), I walked in graduation in May and defended my PhD dissertation in October.

Shannon standing outside in PhD academic regalia: a black gown, a blue hood, and a black mortarboard.

As soon as I picked up my silly PhD robes, I knew I wanted something to match the blue velvet demarcating me of a Doctor of Philosophy. After scouring the internet, I settled on a lovely slubby viscose/linen from Stonemountain & Daughter (sold out in that color now). As the Zadie is designed with a fair amount of ease and I wanted something slightly closer fitting, I cut one size down from my measurements — a 20 on top and a 22 on bottom. I added 7″ in length to the legs to make it full-length.

Shannon standing outside, looking down and smiling. She wears a bright blue jumpsuit with a wrap bodice.

I loved the way it fit! Until I’d worn it all day, that is. Unfortunately, I didn’t hang my yardage after washing it and once it’d warmed and loosened up it grew…and grew…and grew. By the end of the day, I was walking all over my hems and the crotch seam was hanging an uncomfortable 4″ too low.

Shannon wearing the same bright blue garment, now converted to a maxi dress.

After some deliberation, I decided I’d feel safer making it into a maxi dress instead of dealing with the expanding fabric every time I wore it. To do so, I unpicked the inseam and sewed the fronts and backs together, roughly straightening out the line and adding a kick pleat in the back at the point where the crotch seam flared out.

A closer image of Shannon in the converted wrap dress, showing the neckline, as she stands with one hand on her him and smiles.

I wore it that way a few times before deciding that it would get more wear as a knee-length dress, so I took my shears to it once more. This suits the fabric much better, I think! I wore it to a job interview in a tropical place (with a cardigan) and it felt breezy and professional all at once. (It’s straight from the wash here, but the wrinkles come out nicely when it’s hung up overnight or given some steam).

After that, I took just the bodice to make myself a wrap crop top to go with a pair of hot pink rayon twill Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes (recently re-introduced with a size range of 0-30!). The pink twill was an extremely lucky find at a fabric rummage sale, and from the start I had in mind a copy of some adorable co-ord sets from the now-shuttered plus-size darling Premme.

Shannon wearing a wrap crop top and very wide leg palazzo pants, both in bright fuchsia pink.

The Zadie is easy to convert to a crop — I simply added bias binding all the way around the neck and waist opening! I might add some belt loops to keep the wrap ties in place at some point.

A closer image of Shannon in the crop top and pants, smiling at the camera.

Finally, I returned to the pattern with a gorgeous chartreuse linen blend from SR Harris. This time, I cut the size my measurements called for: a 22 on top, 24 on bottom. To bring them together I simply increased the size of the pleats on the bottom.

Shannon standing in a chartreuse green version of the wrap jumpsuit, this time with cropped-length pants.

In the back, I converted the pleats to darts to help wrangle some of the volume. I ended up lifting the rise just a smidge and treated the neckline with a bias tape facing rather than bind, an easy enough change.

Shannon standing showing a back view of the jumpsuit.

The only warning I’ll give is that the fabric allowances for this pattern are, I find, not quite sufficient. I know Paper Theory aims to reduce fabric waste, but I found I had to piece the ties and could not cut the bias tape with the amount of fabric called for. I’d suggest buying at least 1/4-1/2 yard extra, particularly if it will shrink in the wash. I can’t wait to make a more wintery one with the long sleeves!

Shannon sitting down wearing the chartreuse jumpsuit, with her legs slightly apart.

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